Social welfare and health care services

The Food Act does not differentiate which fields the persons are educated in when food hygiene proficiency and the proficiency certificate i.e. the hygiene passport are required. According to the Food Act, a hygiene passport is required of those who work on notified or approved food premises in accordance with the Food Act and unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs are handled on the premises.

Do the staff at day care centres and aged care facilities have to acquire a hygiene passport?

Yes, if they work on food premises and handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs on those premises. If the day care centre or the aged care facility has a kitchen where for example food is cooked or “raw” food from the central kitchen is cooked, it is generally a question of notifiable food premises (or part of them). This activity is considered as handling of unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs, where the worker is required to have a hygiene passport (even though cooking may be only part of the employee’s work).

Do employees in hospitals, prisons and other departments have to acquire a hygiene passport, if food is distributed in these departments?

No, generally not. Such departments/the kitchens in the departments are not generally food premises. Generally ready-made portions are distributed in the departments, cooked food is portioned out, sandwiches for snacks or breakfast are made using cold cuts or cooked and chilled food from the central kitchen is heated up.  This is not handling of unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs.

But if the department has its own kitchen, and for example cooking of food or cooking of raw food from the central kitchen is part of the activities, the food premises are generally notifiable (or part of the premises are). This activity is considered as handling of unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs, where the worker is required to have a hygiene passport (even though cooking may be only part of the employee’s work).

Are family day-care providers required to have a hygiene passport?

A hygiene passport is not required if the day care is carried out in a private home. But if premises are hired from for example the municipality for the day-care, and food is being prepared for the children and the kitchen is a notified food premises, the employees handling unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs have to acquire a hygiene passport. If the staff is only involved in e.g. the distribution of cooked food or the preparation of breakfasts or snacks from ready-made foodstuffs, a hygiene passport is not required (see the previous question).

Are the staff or the inhabitants of group homes, nursing homes, reception centres or other similar premises required to have a hygiene passport?

A group home or a nursing home or any other similar premises can mean for example group homes or nursing homes for elderly, mentally disabled or psychiatric clients, reception centres for asylum seekers or refugees or for example different kinds of halfway houses which have common kitchen/eating facilities for the clients. In these models of operation, the inhabitants often take part in the food preparations. Some of these facilities can be fully institutional with their professional kitchens and kitchen staff, some on the other hand, can be very homelike and the inhabitants can be almost fully responsible for their food.

Because there are many different models of operation, it cannot be immediately said whether a hygiene passport is required or not. Initially it depends on whether there are such kitchen premises and such a model of operation, that requires notification of the food premises or whether it is a homelike kitchen.

  • If the premises are notifiable food premises, a hygiene passport is required from those, who are employed at the premises in question and handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs. The inhabitants are not required to have a hygiene passport, even if they sometimes might perform tasks related to cooking or bake pastries, for example.  When the elderly take part in baking, for example, it is considered to be part of the living arrangements and care.
  • If the kitchen (and the activities) is homelike, a hygiene passport is not required from anybody working in the kitchen.

Are the mentally disabled required to have a hygiene passport?

No, if a client of social services according to the act on the position and rights of clients of social services, a person performing work activities according to the act on special care for the mentally disabled or a person in sheltered work according to the act on services and support due to disability. The food business operator still has to guide and advise and when needed educate all persons working on the food premises on matters related to food hygiene.

Is a person organising food courses for children in a day care centre required to have a hygiene passport?

No. A person who organises food courses professionally has to acquire a hygiene passport only after the criteria for professional handling of foodstuffs are fulfilled to prove their proficiency after three months of regular work.